One of my favorite things to do when I’m at my wife’s family lake house is to take the kayak out.
There’s a portion of the lake that shoots off into channels and ventures into the woods.
As I paddle deeper into the woods, the water becomes thick with bright green algae. The entire scene becomes a tapestry of shades of green in a woodland paradise.
This particular route is my favorite because as the canals meander into the woods, they go deep enough to give the illusion that I’ve ventured off the grid.
Just me, the kayak, and nature.
I’ve done this route dozens of times, and am always guaranteed to see wildlife. This most recent journey paid off handsomely and I saw them all – birds, deer, turtles, frogs, and river otters.
But, I also saw something completely unexpected and magical on this particular trip.
My normal route requires I cut across the larger lake to access a particular entry point to the canals which takes me for a big loop and brings me to the canal mouth by the house.
It was particularly windy on this day. The water too choppy to cut across the lake. Instead, I decided to do my normal route in reverse. I entered the canal by the house and made my way towards the woods.
As I approached the section where the water turns to green slurry and the woods thicken, I noticed something peculiar off to the side in the canal. As it came into clear view, I found myself doing a double take to make sure that I hadn’t gotten a contact high from the bog odors.
Someone had constructed a fairy wonderland on an exposed section of a tree that was half submerged in the middle of the canal.
I had so many questions – questions of wonder:
- Why was this here?
- How on earth did someone do this in the middle of the canal?
- Who would do this?
- Who would spend their time meticulously arranging all of this?
Nevertheless, I soaked up this gift and enjoyed the feeling of wonder it had given me.
I reached my turning point in the route, which would have been where I’d normally enter the canals had it not been for the windy day, and turned to return the way I came.
As I approached the fairy wonderland on my return, I realized it was much harder to spot from this direction. It could only be seen if you knew to look for it.
I would have completely missed it had it not been for the series of events that forced me to abandon my normal route.
And while the route may have been the same, I noticed that my awareness was heightened doing it in reverse. I was seeing with brand new eyes because the perspective of it changed.
There’s magic in the little unexpected things life gifts us when we’re open to receiving them.
These gifts are all around us but are hard to see unless we nurture our curiosity and allow it to wander outside the boundaries of routine.
More importantly, we also have it within us to be the artist that creates these gifts, these unexpected moments of wonder.
We have a chance to share our art with others, not because we want recognition and praise, but because it’s our gift.
It’s the magic we make of the little things.